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Displacement, increasing fuel prices, and inflation continue to drive food insecurity in Yemen

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Yemen
  • July 2014
Displacement, increasing fuel prices, and inflation continue to drive food insecurity in Yemen

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Ongoing instability and conflict continued between government and armed opposition groups in recent weeks in the North, Northeast and Southern areas, which have displaced more than ten thousand households in July.
    • Despite declining international wheat prices, stable international rice prices, and above-average production harvest prospects, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is expected to continue in Yemen through September due to conflicts and ongoing severe fuel shortages. This will likely persist through December 2014 unless fuel supplies stabilize and persistent conflict issues are resolved.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Displacement - North Governorates: Amran (epicenter of recent conflict), Sa’dah, Al Jawf, Sanaa, Hajjah and Ma’rib. South - Ta’izz, Lahij and Abyan. Central Governorates: Shabwah, Al Hudaydah and Dhamar.

    Displacements of thousands of households due to conflict.

    Conflicts are expected to persist, displacing additional households, reducing household income and purchasing power.

     


    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    After poor rains created early season rainfall deficits in Western part of Yemen, rains during the past several dekads have been above average, leading to normal to above-normal seasonal rainfall totals (Figure 1). Vegetative indices indicate normal ground conditions. Forecasts for normal to above-normal rainfall during the coming weeks are expected to favor agricultural performance for the first season harvest, which is forecasted (by USGS) to be above average.

    International wheat and rice prices declined in June, for the first time since January 2014 while domestic wheat flour and rice prices increased significantly in June compared to May 2014 (the highest since 2012). Current conflict and critical fuel shortages are expected to further increase food prices. With cereal price increases, terms-of-trade is going against labor of the poor as there are only very limited and constrained labor opportunities in the market, especially in rural areas. Sana’a, Al Hudaydah and Sa’dah markets have seen declining trend of terms-of-trade of casual labor to wheat flour since April 2014. These are further exacerbated by increasing costs of transferring food commodities between markets. This will continue to put downward pressure on the purchasing power of poor households, who are predominantly net-food purchasers, many of whom are unable to meet their essential food and non-food needs. WFP’s recent markets studies have shown some changes in the market suggesting reduced purchasing power, including fewer buyers, decreases in quantities of purchase, people seeking cheaper food, and more than 60 percent of buyers demanding credit.

    Ongoing conflicts and market access problems will further erode the purchasing ability of the poor in Yemen. Preliminary estimates indicate that more than 80,000 people in southern and northern governorates have been displaced by the July 2014 fighting, increasing recent displacements to more than 350,000 since May. Access to markets and humanitarian response due to ongoing fighting, roadblocks and high level of uncertainties (and restrictions) have impeded most of these affected areas, resulting in large scale additional displacements.

    Rainy weather conditions may have created favorable conditions for locust infestations. FAO reports that a few swarms of locusts appeared in the highlands of Yemen in late June, affecting crops in Sana'a and nearby governorates. Locusts infested more than 1,000 hectares in Al Hudaydah by late June 2014. The current desert locust infestation requires an increased vigilance as there is potential threat for significant crop losses impacting agricultural labor activities. So far no surveys have been done to confirm the reports.

    Given the current food security situation analysis and recent findings of WFP, poor households in conflict-affected areas of the North and most of the poor in south and central areas will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of food insecurity through December 2014. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Cumulative Satellite-Estimated Rainfall (RFE) in Dhamar Governorate, 2014 compared to 2013 and the 30-year average.

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Cumulative Satellite-Estimated Rainfall (RFE) in Dhamar Governorate, 2014 compared to 2013 and the 30-year average.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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